Re: Boyle and gap view

From: M.B.Roberts (
Date: Mon Apr 02 2001 - 11:19:11 EDT

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    Actually to glibly talk of the Gap theory is not precise as it is better to
    refer to the Chaos-Restitution Interpretation which was dominant from c1660
    to 1850, whereby God first created Chaos (abyss tohu va bohu etc) and
    re-ordered it in 6 days - usually 24 hr days but one year each according to
    Whiston. Whiston Ray Hobbes are explicit on the subject as is Bp Patrick the
    commentator. Boyle alludes to it in the Sceptical Chemist (1661)in the
    Second part ( in my copy p71 and second part is 63- 94 to help you find it).
    Ray himself at first was less open to Chaos Restitution but by 1690
    completley accepted it as did most theologians and "scientists".

    Ted's quote from Boyle does not preclude a Chaos restitution interp which
    began with a chaos of unkown duration and then 144 hrs re-ordering.

    This whole question on how people considered the age of the earth from 1650
    to 1700 needs close scrutiny. From the priomary material I have read
    Chrsitains were keeping in step with contemprorary ideas and often in the


    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Ted Davis" <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Monday, April 02, 2001 3:44 PM
    Subject: Boyle and gap view

    > I'm doubtful that Boyle endorsed the "gap" view in any form, as Michael
    > Roberts has suggested. I say "doubtful", b/c I am open (as always) to
    > convinced from specific passages that I am mistaken. But the lengthiest
    > passage I know of, in which he comments on the earth's age, is in The
    > Excellency of Theology (1674), where he implies (almost states flat out)
    > that the earth is no more than 10,000 years old, and where he also states
    > the following:
    > "I see no reason to embrace their Opinion, that would so turn the first
    > Chapters of Genesis into an Allegory, as to overthrow the Literal and
    > Historical sense of them." Now I agree that gap advocates often argue for
    > the literalness of their view, since it preserves the six days as literal
    > days, but I doubt he had this in mind.
    > Furthermore, Boyle admired his father's close friend James Ussher, indeed
    > it was probably Ussher who inspired Boyle to undertake his own study of
    > biblical languages in order to write critically about the Bible. I have
    > reason to doubt that he thought Ussher was pretty near the mark.
    > Ted Davis

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